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When most of us think of Gin, what comes to mind is London Dry Gin. However, there are several other varieties and styles including, Genever, American Gin, Plymouth Gin, Old Tom Gin and Sloe Gin.  The following is an explanation: 

English/ Dry/ London Dry Gin:
London Dry Gin (sometimes called “English” or “Dry Gin”) is the dominant English style of Gin. This Gin is exceptionally versatile and can be served straight or used in mixed drinks.

Genever is the fuller-bodied Dutch cousin to Gin and actually tastes more like a whisky than a traditional gin. The primary difference is in the base spirit. While the base of Gin is primarily grain (usually Rye or Wheat), the base of Genever is primarily malt wine (a mixture of Rye, Wheat, Corn and Barley). Genever style Gins are produced in Belgium, Holland, and Germany. They are available in two styles, young (“jonge”) and old (“oude”). Old Genever tends to be sweet and aromatic, while young Genever has a lighter body and drier palate. They are usually served straight and chilled.

American Dry Gin:
American Dry Gin (often called “soft gin”) is lower in proof and less flavorful than London Dry Gin. It is generally used in mixed drinks.

Plymouth Gin:
Plymouth Gin is a more earthy and junipery style of gin than London Dry Gin, which has more citrus elements. There is currently only one distillery that produces Plymouth style gin, BlackFriars Distillery. It is considered to be the original base of the first dry Martini and can be served straight or used in mixed drinks.

Old Tom Gin:
Old Tom Gin is similar to the style of sweeter gin that was popular in 18th Century England. It was the original gin used in the Tom Collins. It has not been available in the United States for quite some time, but still can be found in England.

Sloe Gin:
Sloe Gin is not really a Gin, rather it is a sweet liqueur with a Gin base. It is flavored with blackthorn plums (“Sloes” are the small purple fruit produced by the blackthorn) and aged in wood barrels. It is most commonly served in a Sloe Gin Fiz.


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